Flames Blue it!

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

ST. LOUIS -- One team's roster was littered with minor-league players.

The other played like it.

The Calgary Flames turned in a lacklustre performance and lost 3-2 in a shootout to the St. Louis Blues last night.

The NHL's last-place squad were without their top two point producers, having traded both Doug Weight and Mike Sillinger within the previous 24 hours.

So you'd think the Flames would be upset about leaving behind a point in St. Louis.

Well, guess again.

"We deserved a little better fate but it's the way it goes," said surprisingly composed head coach Darryl Sutter. "I'm not too concerned. I wish we could have got the other point."

Captain Jarome Iginla said his teammates played a fairly good game.

"It wasn't like we didn't show up," he argued. "They only had 16 shots (in regulation). Defensively, we played well and that's where we want to start, when we're on the road."

Lee Stempniak, the fifth Blue in the shootout, was the hero, firing a high shot past Miikka Kiprusoff to give the 13,310 at the Savvis Center reason to go home happy.

Tony Amonte and Matthew Lombardi scored for Calgary in the shootout, with Iginla, Kristian Huselius and Chuck Kobasew unable to find the mark.

Yet the Flames had only themselves to blame, registering six shots on Blues goalie Curtis Sanford in a lethargic first period.

Apparently, the Flames had a wake-up call during the first intermission, as Calgary quickly took a two-goal lead, the first tally coming 80 seconds into the middle frame.

Sanford tried to play the puck around his goal but Amonte intercepted the pass and fed Daymond Langkow in the slot. Langkow lifted a backhand over the Sanford as the goalie rushed to get back into position.

Three minutes later on the powerplay, Marcus Nilson fired a rolling puck in the high slot and sent it just inside the far post.

But thanks to one great play and a questionable call, the Blues drew even before the middle period was complete.

Jay McClement put the hosts on the board with a highlight-reel effort. After zipping by Andrew Ference, McClement worked to the net and beat Kiprusoff short-side.

That was followed by a controversial goal.

Petr Cajanek had both feet in the crease as Stempniak took his shot that made its way into the net.

Sutter said goaltender interference should have been called. "Kiprusoff has got to be able to move," he said.

Sutter praised the Blues' minor-league callups. "When you've got a whole bunch of young guys in your lineup like that one, they're going to give you some juice," he said.


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